It is important that the media have a high level of trust with the university relations staff at Dakota Wesleyan University. By following these guidelines, a cooperative system of giving information to the media effectively and receiving positive coverage from them can be established.
Projecting a positive image
The university relations office is responsible for projecting a positive image for Dakota Wesleyan University, as defined by the administration. Another primary responsibility of the UR office is to increase awareness of DWU’s strengths to external publics. In order to continue to build and preserve that positive image, the vice president for university relations will have the responsibility and authority to serve as college spokesperson with the media in presenting the college’s position on general issues when called upon by the media.
In times of crisis or other serious concern, or when detailed information about a specific topic deems it necessary, the president may appoint another spokesperson for DWU, or serve in that capacity himself/herself. In such instances, the vice president for university relations will be informed, allowed to offer professional advice and will be involved in developing an agreed upon strategy for handling the media or statement to the press. Appropriate administrators, faculty and staff will be informed of the strategy or statement.
Releasing university information
In an effort to maintain effective and appropriate communication within the campus community, some news releases will be released to faculty and staff via e-mail before being released to the media. It should be understood that the internal release of information is privileged, meant only for the campus community, and should under no circumstances be forwarded to the media. University relations and sports information are the only offices that will provide news releases of any kind to the media.
Administrators, faculty, staff and student groups should keep the university relations staff informed about activities, events and issues in their departments that may, should, or already have attracted media attention. This will allow the best cooperative effort in disseminating information and providing publicity assistance. Please plan to give news release information to the UR staff at least two weeks before an event to allow adequate time for writing and distribution.
For the same reason, the vice president for university relations should attend President’s Council and Directors’ Council meetings, as well as meet periodically with appropriate faculty groups to remain aware of campus activities and programs.
Finally, it is important to note that while all departments on the DWU campus provide interesting, beneficial, educational and innovative programs and activities, not all activities will be considered newsworthy to the media. The university relations staff will make the best effort in writing news releases and finding the newsworthy angle to a story idea, but can in no way force a media outlet to print or broadcast a story about DWU.
All sports story ideas should go to the sports information director.
Interviews and contact people
If members of the campus community are contacted directly by the media for information about DWU, it is best to contact the vice president for university relations before an interview takes place. Although administrators, staff and faculty may deal with issues such as finances or enrollment numbers on a daily basis, much of that information is considered confidential. Sharing potentially sensitive information with the media, even unintentionally, can cause damage to the university.
Occasionally, the vice president for university relations will arrange for an administrator, faculty or staff member to meet with a media representative for an interview. The VPUR will offer as much assistance as requested or necessary in such a case.
If the information requested by the media is sports related, the sports information director should be contacted. All coach or athlete interviews should be scheduled through the sports information director.